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Sri Lanka

(35 Posts)
Sortingfinances Sat 29-Dec-18 19:27:05

I'm planning a trip to Sri Lanka in August and would love to know your best bits.
We're after wildlife beaches surfing snorkelling and culture - August means focussing on the east coast I think.
We'll be travelling independently on a tightish budget.

OP’s posts: |
Mammyofonlyone Wed 02-Jan-19 00:04:06

We were considering Sri Lanka in July but not sure about the weather?

Sortingfinances Wed 02-Jan-19 09:04:52

Hi! Are you going independently or on a package? Good flight prices at the moment, I'm just trying to get my head around logistics before going for it.
July-August is the best time for the East.
Where are you hoping to visit?

OP’s posts: |
cardy1969 Thu 03-Jan-19 08:20:10

We are planning to go to either Sri Lanka or Thailand in July. I went into Trailfinders yesterday and they quoted £10,000 for 4 people for 2 weeks for flights, accommodation, driver for the 2 weeks. This was substantially more than I expected - I have budgeted more like £7,000!

Our plan is to visit 3 or 4 places plus a week at a beach resort on the East Coast (better weather in the East in July).

There are some good suggested itineraries in the Trailfinders brochure, so I'm planning to cost up myself through various website and do the same for Thailand.

We went to Singapore and Bali last year and did it for just over £7,000 including spending money.

ToothlessReg Thu 03-Jan-19 14:16:18

I can’t help with the east coast as we went in Feb so focussed on inland areas and south / west coast, but it’s a really easy and cheap country to travel around.
We did 2.5 weeks for about £1k each including flights - no kids, just me and my husband. We stayed in apartments or small hotels, basic but clean, and didn’t hire a driver, so saved a lot there and actually much preferred the train journeys. They can be long but if you reserve seats in advance they aren’t crowded and are actually pretty comfortable - and the views make them so worthwhile!

This website has all you need for train travel:

As for places to go, Sigiriya is a must see. We stayed in the village for 4 nights which made a really good base for us. Go to Sigiriya rock, visit Dambulla caves (easy tuktuk journey), or hire a driver for the day to go on an elephant safari in one of the national parks nearby (we did Minneriya) and visit Polonnaruwa (hire a bike and cycle round the ancient temples).

Kandy is a bigger city round a lake, nice for a night or 2, the temple of the tooth is worth a look, and the British Garrison cemetery (colonial graves - find the caretaker, he’ll tell you the interesting stories!)

Nuwara Eliya is very British, lots of nice hiking around at Horton Plains, Ella is beautiful and hilly with the tea plantations around it.

I’ve not been, but have heard good things about Arugam Bay on the east coast.

Bigoystershell Thu 03-Jan-19 14:34:34

I'm going in August and can't find flight prices under £900pp, will they come down?

SJane45S Thu 03-Jan-19 15:03:12

Good lord - £10K?! We're going at Easter - the flights with Kuwait Airlines (changing planes in Kuwait) for the 3 of us are £1380, hotels (all 4 star) are £700 for ten days and our driver will be £200. So under £2.5K without spending money. We are going to the West Coast though (Colombo, Kandy, Tangalle with trips out to Sigiriya etc). Hope you get something much cheaper through pricing it yourself!

cardy1969 Thu 03-Jan-19 16:35:41

That's great Sjane. It seems to be much more reasonable at Easter. Unfortunately we can't go until my dd has done her A levels so Easter isn't a possibility.

The cheapest I can find flights for July
Is £780 each and I am budgeting £2200 for accommodation for 4 of us for 14 nights. So with a driver I was hoping we'd be about £5500, certainly not £10k.

SJane45S Thu 03-Jan-19 17:45:27

I've absolutely no clue about July prices but based purely on April prices Id have thought maybe you could get the accommodation a bit cheaper - there were lots of properties on when we booked & it was all really reasonable. But as above, I've not looked in July & we're going to different places so I could be really wrong! I found out transport company through TripAdvisor & asking a few to quote me so that might be a good place to start for you?

Sortingfinances Thu 03-Jan-19 21:29:49

Definitely DIY Cardy, 10k is crazy!
Where are you looking for flights? Ebookers had reasonable (summer holidays) prices. July before school hols ought to be better

OP’s posts: |
cardy1969 Thu 03-Jan-19 23:57:33

I've been looking at Skyscanner and Expedia. We can't really go until 19 July when dd2 finishes school, however would consider a few days earlier. Will look st Ebookers too.

SJane45S Fri 04-Jan-19 07:42:12

Candy, I just looked on Kayak & leaving on 19/07 coming back 2 weeks later they have flights with Gulf Air for £651 each. Would involve changing planes in Bahrain with a 2hr30 stopover. If you want direct then the flights just rocket up!

cardy1969 Fri 04-Jan-19 07:55:26

That's interesting, I'll take a look. From where we are in the UK we would have to change, there aren't direct flights so a stopover isn't an issue.

Last year we went to Singapore & Bali and the year before Malaysia both stopping in Dubai. Thanks I'll keep lookingsmile

Mammyofonlyone Fri 04-Jan-19 08:01:51

We've just been quoted £9800 by our travel agent leaving 8th July!! Any advice on good more affordable accommodation would be great. Cardy, I hope you don't mind me asking this on your thread

Sortingfinances Fri 04-Jan-19 09:19:54

I'm anticipating £4000 all in for 4 of us for 2 weeks (2.5k flights, 1.5k rest). BUT will be staying in basic guest houses not resorts and most likely using trains and buses.
Borneo cost us about that.

OP’s posts: |
Mammyofonlyone Fri 04-Jan-19 09:36:27

Finances, I'm actually not too keen on big resorts, we prefer smaller places. Any tips on where we start looking?

Sortingfinances Fri 04-Jan-19 12:00:52

I've got the lonely planet. Also for Borneo last year I used to book some places, others I booked direct - big range of prices, but I'm looking at max £30 a night for 1 or 2 rooms usually including breakfast.

OP’s posts: |
JillGoodacre Fri 04-Jan-19 18:45:57

We stayed in Colombo , Sigiriya, Kandy and Balapitiya (between Bentota and Hikkaduwa). We booked through a company and they arranged everything. We flew from Kuwait direct and flights cost us around £1800 ( could have got them a lot cheaper but left it last minute) the holiday cost just under £4K for all hotels and trips but the hotels were all 5* and this included all entrance fees for trips and our driver. We didn't spend much when we were there.

Mammyofonlyone Fri 04-Jan-19 18:52:43

Thx Jill, we have been quoted c.£3k for two weeks accommodation only, it does look nice but also feels relatively expensive

Sortingfinances Fri 04-Jan-19 19:30:06

Jill, when staying in Sigiriya and Kandy did you visit sights in the surrounding areas? How were travel times if so? And did you go on a safari from anywhere too?

OP’s posts: |
Longdistance Fri 04-Jan-19 23:02:51

We’re going in August for over 2 weeks, flying with Oman air via Muscat as it was cheaper than going direct. It’s AI, so probably not to everyone’s taste. We do escape from our hotel, but like to know we’ll be fed, ha!

cardy1969 Fri 04-Jan-19 23:41:13

Longdistance, Where are you staying?

Bigoystershell Sat 05-Jan-19 07:03:02

Longdistance how much were your flights if you don't mind me asking?

Longdistance Sat 05-Jan-19 22:18:01

Hey. We’re staying at Club hotel Dolphin. It looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere.
The flights were around £1,900 for the 4 of us via Muscat. I think we have a max of 2 hours transfer in Muscat. The whole holiday cost £5k. Booked through destination2 travel agents.
We were going to go to Sri Lanka for honeymoon 10 years ago, but there was lots of trouble there, so left it.
Really excited now we can take dds too.

cjpark Sun 06-Jan-19 10:00:04

We went to Sri Lanka last August for 3 weeks. Flights came to £3000 for 4 of us ( 2 adults, 1 Teen, 1 child) flying Quatar via Doha.
We then paid £50 day for a guide and his 4x4 who took us to Negombo, tea plantations, spice farms, fishing and selling our fish at the market! We drove up to Kandy to see the Temples and Dancers, Syguria Rock, Elephant Sanctuary,. Spent a few days under canvas at Noel Rodegez Leopard Camp in Willaputa Nature Reserve (expensive but the highlight) and then flopped on a beach on the north east coast for 5 days.
I booked hotels and lodges on the web before we went and the food was v. cheap, breakfast is included in most places, curry and rice is £3 a head if you eat where the locals eat. Amazing country.

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